15 Minute Read-
If you’re at all privy to the ever-changing universe of home decor then you’re well aware of the recent influx/bombardment of mud cloths on the scene. We’re the only home decor shop on Abbot Kinney Blvd. and we still can’t take 15 steps down the block without seeing an indigo striped African pillow in every store window whether it be a knick-knack shop or paper store (I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the pizza joint was moving handstitched mud cloth pillows out of the back).
And I get it. For lack of a better vocab word, mud cloths are cool. I’d be lying to say I was impervious to their allure. Hell, it’d be downright hypocritical considering they’re still some of my best sellers.
This entire trend began gaining traction about three years ago and it was around that time I was wandering the local Sunday flea market for treasures when I saw a booth with the most beautiful fabrics stacked as high as L.A. city code would allow. That’s how I met Mimi.
Amidst the towers of faded threads was a young woman carefully folding the foundation of another woven skyscraper.
“Are these the authentic African mud cloths or are they made in Los Angeles?” I asked.
“How could they be African if they were made in Los Angeles?” she answered with one eyebrow raised and an accent that confirmed my idiocy. As a man who applauds a quick wit, nothing makes me trust a woman more than when they make me feel like a moron.
Within a week we were invited into Mimi’s downtown warehouse, home of Mali Mud Cloth Empire Inc. where the most unique patterns and fabrics laid in wait until someone with the patience to sort through them came along.
At Tumbleweed, we always try to shy away from trends, but that doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to style or purpose. We’ve made a business out of seeing the use in items others would label as useless and that’s exactly why we’ve yet to turn away from mud cloths. These frayed lumps are composed of textiles that were moments away from being forgotten had someone not rescued them. Some have loose stitching leftover from a rushed repair job. Some have discoloration from being left in the sun for too long and some are so soft and so thin from use you can blow air through them. But they’re all unique.
At Tumbleweed we have a saying – “When you’re bored of it, paint it a new color.” and the same goes for upholstered furniture. We started using the mud cloths to inject life back into decrepit furniture and we’ve fallen in love with the results. I’ll bet you never thought an ottoman could be the dashing centerpiece of your living room. Well, we’ve changed that. I encourage any and all to take a look at what can be created with some creativity and hope that everyone hesitates the next time you call something a “rag.”